Consumer Reports' refrigerator Ratings can help lead you to the model that's best suited to your space and styling needs, with precise temperature controls, ample storage, and the right mix of features. Yet even at 275 models (and counting), our Ratings may not include every refrigerator at your local home center or appliance dealer. With that scenario in mind, our statisticians and market analysts pored over several years of performance and reliability data to identify brands with the best track records. Here are the results, by refrigerator type:
Bottom-freezers. This category includes popular French-door and four-door refrigerators, as well as conventional bottom-freezers. Kenmore and Samsung have several models on our recommended list, including the top-scoring four-door model, the Samsung T9000. Both brands also have solid performance and reliability. Other safe bets among bottom-freezers are Amana, Electrolux, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, and Whirlpool. LG and Maytag are relatively safe bets (though it’s worth noting that when LG is on, it’s very on, with some of the highest-scoring models for the category). Less consistent brands are Fisher & Paykel, GE, and Haier.
Side-by-sides. If you have a galley-style kitchen, or you want accessible freezer space, you might be considering a side-by-side, with its narrow door swing and fully vertical freezer compartment. But take note: this category has been the most temperamental, with no brands making our “Safe Bets” list. Relatively safe bets include Frigidaire, Hotpoint, and Maytag. Less constant brands include Amana, Electrolux, GE, Kenmore, Samsung, and Whirlpool. If you're considering a KitchenAid or LG side-by-side with an icemaker, well you might want to reconsider. Both have been repair-prone in our Product Reliability Surveys.
Top-freezers. This bargain category has models costing as little as $500. But if the refrigerator can't keep its cool, or it's continuously conking out, you won't be saving in the long run. Haier and LG offer solid performance and reliability. Haier has several winners, including a $600 CR Best Buy. Frigidaire and Kenmore are relatively safe bets, while Amana, GE, Hotpoint, Maytag, and Whirlpool have been less consistent.
There you have it. Hopefully you can find a model from a brand with top performance and reliability. If your heart is set on a brand we've identified as less consistent, you can still consider it. But we urge you to stick with a model that scores well in our refrigerator Ratings.
—Daniel DiClerico (@dandiclerico)